Sunday, December 12, 2010

Juggling family, writing, and the holidays

Less than two full weeks 'til Christmas now, and I'm actually not doing that bad, or so I tell myself. The house is decorated, my shopping is mostly done, and I've got a decent start on the holiday baking. I'm midway through preparations for my son's classroom party: the treats are done and I'm building a beanbag toss game with a Frosty theme. I even sort of have a menu at least half-way planned for the family Christmas dinner.
Unfortunately, that doesn't take into consideration the fact that I have a day job, a work in progress, and my first release comes out a few days after Christmas. The holidays are a time that play havoc with the best of our intentions to stay engaged in writing. With a million distractions, some of them worthy, others less so, the tendency to shelve writing for the month can be strong. After all, the kids will only be little once, the demands on our time seem endless, and what's one more month away from the manuscript, right?
Wrong. You may not be as productive as usual during the holidays, but it's still worth keeping your hand in. Even if you're only writing 15 minutes a day as opposed to an hour or a few hours like you usually do, it's still important. Your story stays fresh in your brain and you don't have to go through the process of dusting off the creative cobwebs after the holidays are over. And, you still make progress toward getting your manuscript done, even if the progress isn't as great as you would like. Besides, I don't know about you, but for myself, as soon as I start making excuses for putting writing on hold, it's hard to stop. "Things will calm down after the holidays," turns into "I'm awfully busy at work," and "I never have anytime for myself" and "I really need to get more exercise," and the list goes on and on. Even if you're unpublished, or especially if you're unpublished, you've got to make writing a priority and take it seriously as a professional responsibility. After all, you wouldn't tell your boss at your day job, "I've got to take December off, things are so busy at home." Okay, I can admit to fantasizing about doing that at MY day job, but I don't actually do it


Jannine Gallant said...

I completely agree. Once you start making excuses not to write, it's hard to stop. And then when you finally do go back to your WIP, you have to reread everything you've writen just to figure out where you're at. It's a vicious circle. So your advice is spot on - don't quit in the first place!

LaVerne Clark said...

Totally agree as well. I've been firm with myself lately, and even if its only a paragraph I've managed to scrape together, it still advances the story and focuses me for the next time I hash it out. My motto - "I can always delete it" : )

I've been caught in that vicious cycle of procrastination once too often and I refuse to go there again. Thanks for the reminder Linda!

Anonymous said...

Great advice and well said!
Liz Arnold
The Wild Rose Press

Caroline Clemmons said...

Procrastination should be my middle name. This year has had way too many crises where life interferred with my writing time. I'm hoping next year will be so smooth it will actually be boring. LOL

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